David Williams gets to the soul of mixed media collage, ensnaring an alluring vibrancy through texture, rich colors and a kaleidoscope of subjects and shapes that blur the lines between surrealism and abstraction. Williams conceptualizes a euphoric and lush otherworld, spearheading a fantastical approach to image-making across his compositions populated with a tableaux of both expressive and mysterious characters set against planetary atmospheres.
For his latest solo exhibition at Padre Gallery, entitled “THE TRAVELERS: OFF TO MARS,” Williams seemingly invites curious onlookers to immerse themselves in his imagined worlds and elevate their curiosity when observing his painterly enfilade of allegorical fantasies. There are more questions than there are answers when it comes to contemplation on Williams’ works — much like humankind’s musings of the vast expanse of space.
The celebration of life and the inevitability of death are overarching themes in his pieces, as he expresses: “In a nutshell, inspiration comes from experience and process, and the materials used. I don’t necessarily believe that inspiration is the main driving force behind the work of an artist,” says Williams. “Rather, for me, it’s more about a necessity to keep your mind, hands, and eyes busy and all working together; which might help understand a myriad of curiosities and questions. Those questions, to me are often about life and death, and the human condition of being alive... and lately, there has been a lot of pondering the inevitability that humans will eventually have to leave Earth.”
Williams counts the ABEX painters as some of the artists who have had the greatest influence in his works. “I did not understand the wide breadth of art, until I had some understanding of abstraction. The 1860s-ish to the present are the most influential years of art history for me. Studying abroad in Italy during my undergraduate studies and actually observing Italian art history, and architecture in the flesh was also very impactful for me early on,” he says.
The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Williams’ studio practice is predominantly process-based and led by experimentation. Although his approach is endlessly- morphing, he gleans the techniques that he has learned over the years in painting, drawing, printmaking, and collage to create elevated forms of pictorial depictions.
- Keith Estiler